John Paul Jones’ testimony offers fascinating glimpse at Led Zeppelin’s formation


A courtroom isn’t a great place for a reunion with your former bandmates, but that’s what happened with Led Zeppelin in June. John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant all descended on a California courtroom to defend themselves against accusations of plagiarism. Rolling Stone’s transcript of Jones’ testimony offers up a fascinating glimpse at the origins of Led Zeppelin. After describing his boyhood forays into music, Jones got asked about his work with the Zep and the Yardbirds:

Q. Did you do any arranging or performing on recordings or session work with the Yardbirds?

A. Yes. I did one — one album. Little Games I think it may have been called. That was when I was working with Mickie Most, as well, when the Yardbirds were produced by Mickie Most with just a few things.
Q. And how did you come to be a member of Led Zeppelin?

A. Well, I was doing a lot of work, and probably too much work, and I think my wife could see the warning signs. And she actually read that Jimmy Page was forming a group. He had left the Yardbirds and was forming a band, and she said, “Call him up.” And so I did and I said, “Hi, Jim. Do you need a bass player?” And he went, “Yeah.”

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THE WITNESS: He was — he said he was going up north to — to see a singer, to hear a singer, who he thought also knew a drummer. And the singer was Robert Plant and the drummer was John Bonham.


Q. What year was Led Zeppelin formed?

A. 1968.
Q. Did Led Zeppelin play in any countries before first touring in the United States?

A. Yes. We played in Scandinavi
Q. Did Led Zeppelin play or perform in Denver in December of 1968?

A. Yes, we did. It was the first show.
Q. Who else was at — what other group or groups were at the show?

A. Well, we were opening for Vanilla Fudge, and I understand Spirit was there, too.

Read Jones’ full testimony at Rolling Stone.

Photo credit: Jeff Turner.

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